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State Sen. John Grubesic. Richardson Critic, Won't Run Again

By Deborah Baker/
Associated Press
      SANTA FE — A state senator whose first term was marked by blistering criticism of Gov. Bill Richardson and run-ins with law enforcement officers has decided not to run again.
    John Grubesic, a Santa Fe Democrat, said today it was financial considerations, not the fear of a bruising re-election campaign, that drove his decision.
    "Economically, I just can't do it anymore," said Grubesic, 42, a lawyer in private practice and the father of three children.
    Lawmakers are not salaried, and Grubesic said his duties as a senator take time away from his work as a trial attorney.
    Grubesic said he will finish out his term. All 42 Senate seats and 70 House seats are up for grabs in 2008.
    Another Santa Fe lawyer, political newcomer Brian Egolf, announced last year he would run for the seat. Egolf claimed Grubesic's criticism of the governor resulted in capital-projects vetoes that hurt the lawmaker's constituents.
    A critic not only of the governor but of the political process, Grubesic today called himself "an independent voice in the Roundhouse."
    He said he voices the frustrations of New Mexicans "who realize that government serves itself and has little concern for those who cannot afford to buy representation."
    Grubesic has held the seat since July 2004. He defeated a Richardson ally, 20-year veteran Sen. Roman Maes, in the Democratic primary, and the county commission appointed him to the seat when Maes resigned.
    The lawmaker pleaded guilty to careless driving after he crashed his sport utility vehicle near his home in March 2005. He acknowledged drinking but denied he was intoxicated. In July of that year, he verbally tangled with sheriff's deputies investigating a neighbor's complaint about his driving. He apologized for the incidents and sought counseling.
    "I addressed those problems, and they're behind me. I wasn't worried about the negativity of a campaign," Grubesic said in an interview.
    One of few lawmakers openly critical of the Democratic governor, Grubesic once referred to Richardson as "the flabby king" in a Senate floor speech during a heated budget fight.
    He also ruffled some feathers by writing a newspaper column during last year's legislative session describing the lobbying scene at a popular watering hole near the Capitol.
    "It is not the rebels of the world who create the problems," Grubesic concluded in the statement he issued today. "It is the problems that create the rebels."
   


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